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Disabling a Laptop Touchpad

Posted By Kevin On January 24, 2011 @ 10:25 AM In Hardware & Peripherals | 4 Comments

Most laptops or notebooks come with a built-in touchpad (or mouse pad). Touchpads are great for portability; you can use it to operate the laptop from anywhere – without having to use an external USB mouse.

However, most computer users prefer using an external mouse over the default touchpad. This is because an external mouse is easy to grip, can be used faster and it’s much more comfortable for prolonged computing hours at the office. If you work for more than 3 hours a day on your laptop, it’s advised to use an external mouse to avoid finger and palm strain.

One of the common annoyances of using an external USB mouse, is when your fingers accidentally slip into the laptop’s touchpad, while you are typing a document. Suddenly the cursor disappears to an unknown location in the document, which destroys the arrangement of earlier paragraphs.

In this article, we will discuss two simple ways to avoid such accidental typing errors.

Disable Your Laptop’s Touchpad from Window’s Control Panel

If you always use an external USB mouse, consider disabling the laptop’s touchpad completely through the Control Panel. When the touchpad is completely disabled, the mouse cursor will not be accidentally misplaced when your hand, palm or any of the fingers slip in the touchpad zone.

The following are the steps involved in disabling the touchpad from the Control Panel:

1. Click the Start Menu and choose Control Panel



2. When the Control Panel window opens, click the Mouse link. You may have to change the view to Small icons (upper right corner) to reveal the Mouse link.



3. This will open a small explorer window with different settings for adjusting your mouse, adjusting mouse pointer options, and configuring the hardware drivers associated with your laptop.

Under the Device Settings tab, you will see the option to disable your laptop’s touchpad completely.



That’s it, the touchpad has been turned off from the Control Panel, and you will never encounter any more typing errors when your fingers wander into the touchpad zone.

Disable Touchpad Only When You Are Typing Something

If you do not want to entirely disable the laptop’s touchpad, but want it to automatically turn off while you are writing something, here is a software program which will be immensely useful.

1. Go to the TouchFreeze [1]website and download TouchFreeze-1.0.2.msi on your computer. Hit the Download link and choose Save file in the target window. The software is a free download, available at code.google.com



If you are using Internet Explorer or an older browser, you may have to right click the download link and choose Save target as.



2. This will save a tiny Windows installer package called Touchfreeze.msi (~251KB) in your computer’s Downloads folder.

3. When the file download is complete, double click the TouchFreeze.msi setup and install the program on your computer. The installation is pretty straightforward; all you have to do is follow the instructions of the installation wizard.



4. When the installation is complete, click Start and type TouchFreeze in the search box. Run the program and you are done.



5. Once the program is loaded, it keeps running in the background and automatically disables your laptop’s touchpad whenever you are typing something. Stop typing and the touchpad comes to life again. Sweet!

6. You can also right click the Touchfreeze icon in your Windows system tray and choose Load at System Startup. This will run the program whenever you restart the computer, so you won’t have to run the program manually over and over again.

There are other ways to deal with your laptop’s touchpad; for example, disabling the BIOS settings or unloading the drivers. But the above two methods work just fine and don’t require you to uninstall the drivers, or go through complicated BIOS setups, just to avoid unnecessary typing errors. Give this a try !

~Amit Banerjee

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[1] TouchFreeze : http://code.google.com/p/touchfreeze/